Deeper Dive: something

Word Story Text

English has three types of morphology.
Inflectional morphology refers to inflections for tense (on verbs) and number (on nouns).
Derivational morphology: mainly prefixes and suffixes:
write, rewrite; emote, emotion. Live liveable.
Compounding: Two words combined to form another word.
SOMETHING is an example of that.

Knowing the words that are combined to form a compound is helpful. But, the combination works differently than the individual words.

It’s not simple addition.

Children may already know “some” and “thing”.
something”is not just some + thing, in pronunciation or meaning.

something I saw on Broadway”

“some thing that was crawling in the basement” more like a pronoun.

Beatles song: Some thing in the way she moves me.

as always, pronunciations vary in real life. Some people will say Somethin? Even less “thing”.

Compounds are a lot of fun because of how the component words combine. There are a lot of peculiarities.

Somewhere, sometime, somehow

Something Some unspecified thing
Everything All of them
Anything any of them
Nothing Not any of them.


Still, some and thing get the child a long way towards “something

One caution: Some educators recommend that children who are struggling with a word should see if it contains a word they already know. That works for fairly transparent compounds like something and everything, but it is not a reliable strategy in general. There are lots of cases where it will lead the child off track:
Seething. No see. No thing.
Same for TEETHING. It’s not a TEE THING
Bathing: Not a bath. No thing.
No RAIN in TRAIN, no CORN in CORNER no LIVER in DELIVER and SWEETBREADS are not bread and not sweet.
For beginning readers, concentrating on simple, high frequency compounds like SOMETHING is a good start.


BATHING: lower frequency words where there are idiosyncracies. But, for children who are gaining reading and language skills, these words usually can be figured out without instruction. They can tell whether word “sounds right”, meaning: is this a spoken word I recognize? If not, something’s wrong. Maybe they’ll have to look it up. Maybe they will learn the word from reading but not know the pronunciation. FACETIOUS. These ways of figuring out new words rely on being able to read already.

“If you don’t like something , change it. If you can’t change it change your attitude.” Maya Angelou

“ A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn no other way.” Mark Twain


something in the way she moves
Attracts me like no other lover
something in the way she woos me

I don't want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

Somewhere in her smile she knows
That I don't need no other lover
something in her style that shows me

Don't want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

You're asking me will my love grow
I don't know, I don't know
You stick around, now it may show
I don't know, I don't know

something in the way she knows
And all I have to do is think of her
something in the things she shows me

I don't want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

Something by George Harrison/The Beatles

Quite something

That's something


something like that

something else

See something say something

something noun

1. Anything unknown, undetermined, or not specifically designated; a certain indefinite thing; an indeterminate or unknown event; an unspecified task, work, or thing.
There is something in the wind. Shak.

The whole world has something to do, something to talk of, something to wish for, and something to be employed about. Pope.

Something attemped, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose. Longfellow.
2. A part; a portion, more or less; an indefinite quantity or degree; a little.
Something yet of doubt remains. Milton.

Something of it arises from our infant state. I. Watts.
3. A person or thing importance.
If a man thinketh himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. Gal. vi. 3.
Some′thing adverb
In some degree; somewhat; to some extent; at some distance. Shak.

I something fear my father's wrath. Shak.

We have something fairer play than a reasoner could have expected formerly. Burke.

My sense of touch is something coarse. Tennyson.

It must be done to-night,
And something from the palace. Shak.

-- Webster's unabridged 1913

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